THE side priding itself on its defence this season was out-spirited and out-scored by cash-strapped strugglers scratched together and propping up the Super League table before kick off.
The stats make drab reading for Wolves, who by suffering their first loss to Bradford Bulls since June 2009 handed their hosts a way off the bottom for the first time this season.
Only a round previous Francis Cummins’ side had suffered their biggest ever Super League loss when Wigan Warriors inflicted a seventh straight league defeat.
With Warrington the ones to end Bradford’s losing run, a side short on experienced heads looked almost complacent at times and lacking authority at others.
They failed to deal with the creativity of St Helens reject Lee Gaskell, who delivered a superb offload for the Bulls’ fifth try but utilised space left by Chris Bridge to send Jamie Foster in and then by Matty Russell to execute a grubber for Adrian Purtell.
Facing a three-on-two situation Kevin Penny was dragged into no-man’s land for that first Foster score and it became clear early on that Wolves would not be the latest to rout Bradford, despite Anthony England’s first try for the club after six minutes.
Bridge, the star of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup win over Doncaster, again joined Gareth O’Brien in Warrington’s fifth half-back combination of the season but a mix up between the pair and some shoddy defence allowed Brett Kearney to sprint 70 metres and score.
Wolves held a six-point lead at the interval following tries from Penny, Bridge and Joel Monaghan, while Ryan Atkins and Trent Waterhouse were caught ball-watching as Tom Olbison hit the line from deep in reply.
Not learning from Catalan’s Challenge Cup collapse, Wolves gifted Bulls the initiative for a second successive comeback by four times being penalised in possession after the interval.
Russell showed his potential by waltzing to the line, but Kear and Purtell’s double secured a valuable victory for the hosts, made certain with a penalty from Foster – only included after Luke George’s withdrawal prior to kick off.
Wolves’ first loss to Bradford since 21-10 defeat at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on June 14, 2009
First fall for Wolves at Odsal since 23-10 beating on March 16, 2008
Most points Wolves have scored in a loss since 29-28 reverse at Catalan Dragons on July 24, 2010
Wolves have now lost as many Super League games this year as in each of their past two seasons
Three of Wolves’ last four Super League outings have ended in defeat
First try in Warrington colours for Anthony England
Super League Round 11 Sunday, May 4, 2014
Bradford Bulls...34 Warrington Wolves...28
Wolves: Matty Russell; Kevin Penny, Joel Monaghan, Ryan Atkins, Rhys Evans; Chris Bridge, Gareth O’Brien; Chris Hill, Michael Monaghan, Anthony England, Trent Waterhouse, James Laithwaite, Ben Evans. Subs: Roy Asotasi, Ben Harrison, Ben Currie, Micky Higham.
Bulls: Lee Gaskell; Elliot Kear, Joe Arundel, Luke George, Adam Henry; Brett Kearney, Luke Gale; Antonio Kaufusi, Matt Diskin, Adam Sidlow, Adrian Purtell, Jay Pitts, Danny Addy. Subs: Tom Olbison, Adam O’Brien, Alex Mellor, Sam Bates.
Scoring: England try, 6mins, Bridge goal, 0-6; Foster try, 11mins, 4-6; Kearney try, 16mins, Foster goal, 10-6; Bridge try 18mins, Bridge goal, 10-12; Penny try, 24mins, Bridge goal, 10-18; Olbison try 28mins, Foster goal, 16-18; J Monaghan try, 33mins, 16-22; Purtell try, 48mins, Foster goal, 22-22; Russell try, 58mins, Bridge goal, 22-28; Kear try, 68mins, 26-28; Purtell try, 73mins, Foster goal, 32-28; Foster penalty, 77mins, 34-28.
Referee: Richard Silverwood
Penalties: Bulls 9 Wolves 5
Top Man: Chris Hill